Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Those Pesky Budget Cuts: School Districts

Really, there are probably a million things that could be said about Corbett's budget cuts and how they might impact Fayette County, so I'm going to be breaking it down. With ridiculous crime posts in between, because Fayette County refuses to settle down.

But let's start with Rep. Tim Mahoney's great idea to help save money - taking Fayette County's six school districts and turning them into one.

So that's making six separate school boards, administrators, business managers, etc. making all the decisions for all of Fayette County's over 40 public schools. Because, you know, one person could totally easily manage all of that, especially when dealing with the budgets. One person managing the money for that many schools. Nothing could possibly go wrong! Clearly Mahoney has no idea how much the people in charge have to do to make one district run, let alone one superdistrict.

He is right that "we can't just keep flushing money down the commode." The thing is, there are some misconceptions over where some of this money goes. I'm having a hard time tracking it down, but apparently there was an interview with Corbett where they examined school district budgets and seemed to be questioning the use of stimulus money, when in fact the stimulus money could only be used in certain ways and for certain things. So it would seem that the politicians making all of these monetary decisions don't actually know much about how the money is being spent in the first place.

The other unfortunate thing is the fact that no matter what the needs of the Fayette County schools may have been - and God only knows exactly what that would be - the business managers couldn't put the money there. Plus the money had to be spent quickly to create and preserve jobs, and now we might be looking at teacher layoffs. Not to mention that consolidating the administrations would mean district employees losing their jobs, which Mahoney at least realizes. How dare someone fear losing their job!

The good news is that this doesn't mean schools would close. Except, oh wait, maybe some small elementary schools. No big deal.

I understand we have to save money, but at what other cost to the county? Mahoney's proposal alone would cost jobs, make the existing jobs even harder, and possibly eliminate some schools. Surely there are other areas in the county where money is being wasted, but instead of looking around for alternatives politicians want to cut one of the most important things we have - education.

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